27 September 2023


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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Writer/director: William Bentham, Bonsai Films.

Disclosure is a micro-budget ensemble production, a tense psychological drama that follows four characters through a real-time journey in one location. It was shot in the Dandenong Ranges in Melbourne.

It’s a controversial Australian psychodrama that seeks a response to an important question. Bentham directs the film to explore the complex responses of adults and parents to allegations of child-on-child assault.

Disclosure is about two families who start off the film ostensibly as friends. When a four-year-old girl, Natasha, makes a serious allegation against a politician’s nine-year-old son, an attempt by the children’s parents to tackle the issue in a cooperative way soon degenerates into a vicious confrontation.

It’s an assault on the senses – unwavering and awkwardly straightforward. Bentham’s provocative debut feature is troubling, though in the best way, to get you thinking. It explores patriarchal power structures – and the subject resonates. Emotion is palpable.

Disclosure is tense and draws you into the world of two empathetic protagonists, soulmates Danny (Mark Leonard Winter) and Emily (Matilda Ridgway), as they respond to the horror of their daughter Natasha’s disclosure of sexual abuse at the hands of their friends’ young son. They reach out to the parents of the accused, in a bid to tackle the issue constructively. Instead, they are forced to counter an increasingly brutal attempt to retract their accusation.

It’s a compelling story that engages with a powerful story of doubt and despair, trauma, revenge, as the ethical, emotive and professional dilemmas faced by the four main characters are exposed.

It is fascinating to observe how civility is shed as the adults engage in a conversation that quickly degenerates into a ferocious argument. Rapidly it turns into a witch-hunt against the family of the child that made the original allegation.

Disclosure stars Winter, whose credits include The Dressmaker and Top of the Lake and Geraldine Hakewill (as Bek Chalmers) who recently appeared in Wanted and in Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries. Others are Tom Wren (Secret City, The Inbetweeners 2) as Joel Chalmers and Ridgway (June Again; Tomorrow, And Tomorrow, And Tomorrow).

The film asks a simple question: do we believe the stories that younger children tell? What is the best way to deal with such a dilemma?

Disclosure will be available to rent on home entertainment platforms from
15 September 2021.

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